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|23. COWAN, Robert
Ernest (1862-1942). A Bibliography of the History of California
and the Pacific West 1510-1906...Together with the Text of John W. Dwinelle’s
Address on the Acquisition of California by the United States of America.
San Francisco: [Edward Dewitt Taylor, John Henry Nash & Henry H. Taylor
for] The Book Club of California, 1914. xxxi  318  pp. 4to, original
tan linen over drab blue boards, printed paper spine label. Spine label chipping,
otherwise very fine and fresh. From the library of one of the printers of
this volume, San Francisco fine printer Edward Dewitt Taylor, with his bookplate
on front pastedown (see Hart, Companion to California, p. 440).
First edition, limited edition (#8 of 250 copies); first book printed by The Book Club of California. Cowan II, p. 146. Holliday 235. Howell 50, California 1507: “The standard bibliography of California.” Huntington Library, Zamorano 80...Exhibition of Famous and Notorious California Classics 23. Streeter Sale 2323. Zamorano 80 #23. Although the 1933-1964 edition is preferred for bibliographical research, this first edition contains informative notes not found in the subsequent edition. Hart, Companion to California, p. 295: “John Henry Nash (1871-1947)...in 1897 moved to San Francisco where he was associated with the Tomoyé Press (1901-1911) of the bookseller Paul Elder in publishing California writings and with Taylor & Taylor (1911-1915) before founding his own firm for fine printing (1916). From it he issued lavishly designed and elegantly made books for direct sale in limited editions, but also printed for The Book Club of California, William Andrews Clark, William Randolph Hearst, and other customers and patrons. His publications...all were done in a grandly impressive style.” See Gary F. Kurutz, An Essay on Robert E. Cowan’s “A Bibliography of California and the Pacific West, 1510-1906” (San Francisco: The Book Club of California, 1993). ($300-600)
|23A. COWAN, Robert Ernest &
Robert Graniss Cowan. A Bibliography of the History of California 1510-1930.
San Francisco: John Henry Nash, 1933. v [1, blank] 337 + [2, title] -704
+  705-825 (index) pp. 3 vols., 4to, original half beige linen over
tan boards, printed paper spine labels. Exceptionally fine, in publisher’s
original terracotta cloth box (remains of original printed label on box).
Second edition, revised and enlarged, limited edition (650 copies). Cowan II, p. 146. Howell 50, California 1508. Streeter Sale 2324. (3 vols.) ($250-500)
Robert E. Cowan, the foremost authority on Californiana and Western
Americana, wrote the first systematic bibliography of California history
in book form. Beautifully designed by John Henry Nash and printed by Taylor,
Nash, and Taylor in an edition of 250 copies, it is also the first book
published by The Book Club of California. This represented a pioneering
effort and paved the way for the Club’s long and distinguished publishing
program. Cowan’s work, for the time period it covers, remains to this day
the bibliographic cornerstone of California history.
——Gary F. Kurutz
Additional sources consulted: Kenneth Karmiole, California Printing: A Selected List of Books Which Are Significant or Representative of a California Style of Printing, Part II (San Francisco: The Book Club of California, 1984), entry #20; Gary F. Kurutz, An Essay on Robert E. Cowan’s “A Bibliography of California and the Pacific West, 1510-1906” (San Francisco: The Book Club of California, 1993).